Cape Town jewellery designer and Capitec client, Abi James, joined forces with talented artisans in the spirit of upliftment and Ubuntu when creating a special SOUL Design Studio bracelet.

SOUL Design Studio is a proudly African jewellery brand, founded by Abi James, that also offers a line of clothing and homeware. Their collections are inspired by places, countries and people within Africa and their pieces are handmade from metal and beads that are proudly sourced from the continent.

Abi currently employs three staff members in her studio in Cape Town and works closely with metalsmiths in Kenya, and bead manufacturers in Ethiopia, Ghana and Mali.

“What I’m probably most proud of is employment. Nontembeko has been working with me for over 10 years, and the rest of my team for the past couple of years. But it goes beyond that. We have a team of brass smiths in Kenya, and those we buy beads from too. While it’s been a challenge – particularly now with COVID – to sustain employment, I’m determined to keep going,” says Abi.

Since joining Abi back in 2010, with little training at the time, studio production manager Nontembeko Mtendeni has experienced great personal and professional growth. She has also faced one of her biggest challenges – when her three-year-old son, Litha, was diagnosed with a heart condition.

It was during this time that Nontembeko realised what a supportive friend she had in Abi.

“A doctor determined that there was a sound on Litha’s heart and that he had a narrow valve, so they needed to do an operation. They were honest and said this was not going to be easy. When I told Abi, she was amazing and supported me each and every step of the way. Even when Litha had the operation at Red Cross Hospital, she was there for me every day,” reveals Nontembeko.

Abi shares, “When I found out that Litha was having a big operation and that he wasn’t very well, SOUL, as a collective, decided to design a Litha bracelet for him… The idea being to create an account where the profits made from the bracelets could go into.”

Embodying this spirit of Ubuntu, SOUL chose to bank with Capitec to ensure that managing the financial aspect of this process is simple, easily accessible, and affordable.

“We chose Capitec because they have brilliant interest rates and we knew that we could put money in there and allow it to grow. The thinking behind the fund is for Litha to look towards his future in a really positive way when going through these operations. The money is for more medical things, his education and some fun stuff,” adds Abi.

Nontembeko was blown away by the gesture. “I was completely surprised and shocked. But Abi said ‘No guys, I love you, that’s why I’m doing this. I need to support Litha each and every step of the way,’ which I didn’t expect.”

SOUL’s designs are influenced by Africa and Abi’s travels, and are all ethically handmade on the continent. In essence, this means that the brand practices fair trade and fair prices with those they employ, collaborate with and buy from.

SOUL Design Studio is offering 15% off every item featured on their website for The Insider SA viewers and 20% off for Capitec clients. To claim your discount, use #CapitecLiveBetter at checkout. The offer is valid until 30 April 2021.